Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fat Head’s Holly Jolly (4/10)

Fat Head’s Brewery is located in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, near Cleveland.  They produce Bumble Berry, which is one of my wife’s favorite beers (a honey and blueberry ale).  They also produce Pimp My Sleigh, which is a very nice Belgian-style Christmas Ale.  Holly Jolly is their traditional Christmas Ale.

It pours a slightly cloudy mahogany color, bordering on brown.  The off-white head dissipates fairly quickly.

The aroma contains hints of licorice and honey.

The flavor follows the aroma somewhat.  It starts with a kind of bitter grain flavor, backed up by a sour ginger and nutmeg element.  The finish is bitter.  Spices may be present, but they are well hidden.

Beer Advocate’s 60+ ratings give it an 84 or “good” rating.  Rate Beer doesn’t like it quite as well, giving it only a 73.  I think both are being too kind.  It’s barely identifiable as a Christmas Ale to me, and isn’t very pleasant as a simple beer.  I’m giving it a 4/10.  It’s not the worst thing I’ve had, but it’s not what I want from a Christmas beer.

I had this particular sample at The Daily Growler in Upper Arlington, on draft.  I’ve also had it at World of Beer at Easton in 2012, and didn’t care much for it then either.  I’ve seen the bottled version in several local stores, including Kenny Road Market.

Flavor Profile:
Sweet, Malty, Dry, or Bitter:  Bitter
Spice Level:  Low
Hops Level: Medium
Dominant Flavors:  Grain bitterness, sour ginger
ABV: 7.5%
IBU:  28
My Rating: 4/10

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